Mohamed Salah is ready to play through the pain barrier to lead Egypt’s World Cup charge, according to Liverpool team-mate Dejan Lovren.
The Reds star has been battling back from the shoulder injury suffered during the Champions League final with Real Madrid nine days ago, desperate to play his part in this summer’s tournament in Russia.
Salah seemed to suggest on Sunday that he would be fit, posting a picture on social media with the caption "good feelings".
Lovren is one of the 25-year-old’s closest friends at Liverpool, and speaking at Anfield after Croatia’s international friendly with Brazil, he too hinted that Salah would be ready to take his place in Russia.
“I’m positive,” Lovren smiled. “I have some news but I will keep it to myself!
“I haven’t spoken to him a lot, but hopefully he can be fit for the World Cup because I know it means a lot to him to play for his national team.”
Egypt get their campaign underway in 11 days’ time, taking on Uruguay in Ekaterinburg. And while it appears doubtful that Salah will be able to start that game, it is hoped that the 44-goal star will be back in time for their second Group A game, against hosts Russia in St Petersburg on June 19.
“Mo is the type of player who wants to play even when he feels pain,” Lovren said. “He showed that this season. There were a couple of games where people didn’t know [he was in pain] but in the end he scored a hat-trick or whatever!
“Of course it was disappointing for him that he couldn’t finish the game in Kiev, but he’s positive and hopefully he can move on and play for the national team.”
As for Croatia, they face a testing Group D campaign having been paired with Argentina, Nigeria and Euro 2016 sensations Iceland.
Zlatko Dalic’s side were beaten 2-0 by tournament favourites Brazil on Sunday, and face Senegal in their final warm-up game on Friday. With the likes of Ivan Perisic, Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic in their ranks, Lovren believes they are capable of springing a surprise or two.
“We love to be the dark horses, and I believe can do something big,” he said. “To be honest, we need to catch our form a little bit better. We have still 13 days to do that, and I believe we can pass the group.
“Of course [we can surprise people] like we surprised a few people with Liverpool in the Champions League. With our national team, we have real quality players; if you look at the team we have in the middle and up front, it’s quite scary to be honest.
“But it’s about the team, and like I said in the first half [against Brazil] we looked a good defensive team. I think we can improve in the next week or so.”
Lovren also gave his reaction to Liverpool’s new £40 million signing, midfielder Fabinho.
“I was reading something about this,” he said. “Of course, I am always happy that we can welcome quality players into our squad. To improve every season, every year, is the aim, and hopefully he can help us do it.”
By Neil Jones
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